Library, group use event to educate about county’s past

The Bartholomew County Public Library and Historic Columbus invite you to experience a fascinating group of exhibits that tell the story of Bartholomew County.

Items from private collections that are not normally available to be seen by the public, along with displays from local museums and other organizations, will be placed throughout the library and on the library plaza.

The exhibits, titled “Steps Through Time,” are open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

There is no place else in Bartholomew County where you can see such a diverse group of displays and exhibits. A dedicated group of collectors and organizations bring unique selections of Bartholomew County memorabilia to share for the two days.

One of the new exhibits this year is “Avenue of the Architects” by the Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives. Fifth Street in Columbus is known as the “Avenue of the Architects” for the renowned architects who have built there.

Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum is displaying a scale model replica of the B-17G Bomber christened “Johnny Reb.” It was built by Pat Billey in honor of his father, Staff Sgt. Michael R. Billey, who flew this plane during Wold War II.

Marge and Jack Schmeckebier’s exhibit of kitchen tools and utensils is sure to delight and stump a number of visitors. Although many may remember and know their uses, there will also be many who have no idea what these tools are or how they were used. Of course these are just several of the many items and objects you can see when you come to the library for this event.

More than 400 students, teachers and chaperones are scheduled to go through the library on Friday. This is a great way to have fun and learn about local history. If you have a group that would like to attend, there’s still room. Just call the library at 812-379-1266 and ask for me (Michele Bottorff) to set up a time. Many students who visited on Friday last year returned on Saturday with their parents. That says a lot when kids get this excited about history.

You can see from the list with this column that the library will be jam packed with history.

If you go

What: “Steps Through Time”

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Bartholomew County Public Library, 536 Fifth St. Columbus

Why: To learn about local history by seeing a diverse and unique sampling of memorabilia and meet the people who have a passion for preserving local heritage.



Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum

  • One-ninth scale model B17 Bomber
  • Signed and numbered prints of WWII aircraft by David Gray, the Letterman-Rahal Race Team corporate pilot

Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives: Avenue of the Architects Exhibit

  • Vintage kitchen and homemaking devices (or maybe outside), by Marjorie and Jack Schmeckebier

Indiana Room

  • Bartholomew County Genealogical Society (Saturday only: help with finding your ancestors)
  • D.A.R. – Daughters of the American Revolution, Joseph Hart Chapter
  • Towns that no longer exist in Bartholomew County


  • Yellow Trail Museum, Hope
  • Simmons School, Hope
  • Bruce Neal: Columbus racing memorabilia

Conference Room

  • Cummins and other Columbus memorabilia; Reeves 4 horsepower gas engine — by Jim and Gayle Loesch

Red Room

  • Local history slides; hands-on history; aerial maps of Columbus (1937, 1949, 1960, 1968 and 2014) — by John Rondot
  • Cummins history: vintage manuals, service pins, miscellaneous — by Wayne Rust


  • Bartholomew County History Center: Reeves gas engine; water pump; corn grinder; 1907 Model A Worth automobile
  • Cummins: Special vehicles provided by Cummins volunteers
  • Cummins 1 1/2 horsepower “Thermoil” engine, by Randy Watts
  • Vintage Ottaway Pump-It Train; Cummins 3 horsepower “Thermoil” engine, by Bill Stahl
  • Columbus Fire Department’s 1937 Stutz Cummins Diesel
  • 1961 Home-a-Lite Scarlet Fighter go-kart, by John Stults
  • Rathmann Xterminator go-kart (Friday only), by Mike Anderson
  • “Bouncing Betty” fire engine – 1958 Maxim; 1,000-gallon pumper: former City of Columbus fire truck with Cummins Engine — by John Rondot/Dan Bates

Other activities around the library plaza:


  • 6:30 p.m. on the “Plinth,” Columbus Symphony Orchestra Brass Ensemble


Bartholomew County Historical Society natural dyes workshop on the Visitors Center front lawn

For information contact: reference librarian Michele Bottorff at or 812-379-1266